Remodel / Cable Issue

hey MPU,

Having a cable issue this week…wanted your input. We added a built-in media cabinet next to our fireplace. I had them run a conduit from behind the TV to the media cabinet.

As you can see from the photo…the conduit runs to that open cabinet and then comes again into the middle drawer.

The middle drawer is a shelf that pulls down…I thought I needed 15-foot wires, I wasn’t sure, I probably could have been okay with 10 or 12-foot ones.

Bottom drawer for reference

One of the issues arising…when you open the bottom drawer…it tugs/pulls on the wires….so that when you open the shelf to say change games on the Switch…even though I have slack….the slack is now getting caught on the hinges of the drawer. Each time the drawer closes, the wires shift slightly and everything gets pulled back.

The only I have in my head…is to remove these 15 feet wires and get shorter ones, but potentially the same will still happen, because I need some excess to be able to pull the shelf out and push it back in.

Any suggestions?

Is it a solid bit of wood above? Fix the right amount of slack to it above the boxes to allow them enough space to pull the drawer out without sliding back?

Above is another drawer

Are you saying fix the slack to the bottom of the above drawer?

Perhaps in a similar way to @Ethan9482, you know it’s gotta go between slack and stretched to work right, you’ve somewhat defined how far it’s allowed to stretch and slack, now you just need to define exactly where it’s allowed to stretch and slack.

If you could tack the cable to move mostly along the only center portion of the shelf (by “center” I mean centered with respect to the left-right sides of the shelf), could you eliminate that they catch on the rails?


Yep I was meaning track it to the bit above but that was assuming it was solid and fixed position. On the basis that it’s a drawer, that won’t work as the same issue would arise if you took that drawer out.

However as DrJJW suggested the principle is fix enough slack and you could do that on the main shelf?

Or even the back of the unit. Basically just something that isn’t moving.

The feed from the wall, including the quad power outlet, is that behind the sliding middle drawer, or actually behind a shallow area at the rear of the bottom drawer?

Do you have some ability to do some basic mechanical/woodworking work?

The flaw in this design is the need to open the middle draw to access the Switch (is that the videogame thing?).

I would consider relocating that device to another area where it is more easily accessed without physically sliding in and out.

Or, I would subdivide the middle draw vertically from front to back, fixing the left side (with the AppleTV) and making an inner slide the only moving piece on the right side.

This inner slide would have be a drawer-like structure with sides and a back. I would add keystone jacks at the rear of this inner drawer with connections for HDMI, power, and whatever else is needed.

This would allow smaller cables, possibly coiled, to move as the inner slide drawer is accessed allowing the primary cables connected behind it to be placed and anchored such that they are not affected by the middle inner slider or the lower drawer moving in and out.

(Kinda hard to explain in text, but hopefully you get the idea?)

In re-reading this, I also want to add: The better solution would be the make the pull out middle draw be a maintenance mode only use. Take the front of the drawer and mount it with hinges so it simply folds down or swings left or left (magnetic latches to the rescue) so normal access doesn’t require sliding the drawer and affecting the cables.

I am restraining myself from commenting about a TV over a fireplace. I realize that sometimes there is no other option, but it is far from ideal placement.

Swap the middle drawer and the bottom drawers.

Or cut out a large section of the bottom drawer to prevent the cables from snagging.

I am also 100% in agreement with SpivR about the placement of a TV over a fireplace. Especially a wood burning fireplace.

Thank you all for the feedback, here’s what I did for now temporarily until I have a better solution within the timeframe that I have available.

I removed everything from the middle shelf, moved my 4k player upstairs, moved the Nintendo Switch and the Apple TV to the cabinet on the right. Swapped out the HDMI wires for shorter wires.

The quad power outlet in the wall is mostly behind the bottom drawer, there’s a slight space for outlets. I ended up getting a small power strip (siting inside the right cabinet) and feeding it through so I can plug it in.

Temp solution for now as I battle the irritations of what my contractor / designer suggested versus what I was thinking because I am techie.

I know someone will ask me what is that wire dangling in the back…it’s plugged into the quad outlet below…in the top drawer is a built-in power strip. The plan for that top drawer is to be the charging station for MacBooks, iPads, iPhones. Also with it being in drawer helps the idea of ‘device out of sight, device out of mind’

For those inquiring about the fireplace…yes the TV is up there, didn’t have much of a choice for location for the size. But also note, it’s not wood burning. It’s a gas fireplace with that metal grate and faux wood look.

Previously in a similar situation I used a product like this cable manager available from Amazon. Where I live we call it a cable snake.

I mounted it horizontally on its side – with the narrowest side to top and bottom – so that it would bend left & right as you looked at the drawer. My drawer had a vertical plank at the back (like a regular drawer) so the cables entered the snake at the back wall of the cabinet and then entered the drawer through a drilled hole in the rear plank. The snake would straighten or fold up behind the drawer as you pulled it in and out.

Difficult to describe, but I hope you understand. I got the idea from the cable management arms in server racks where they face a similar challenge when sliding out the servers.

Good move on the power strips. Hopefully they have surge impression. Quick tip - power strips wear out as the MOV’s absorb small surges all the time. Be sure and use one with an indicator light and replace the strip when no longer protecting circuits (even though still works as a power strip). Typically 2 to 5 years lifetime, ymmv.

If the TV over the fireplace height is annoying for viewing height (as in neck and back strain), and you don’t turn on the fireplace often, there are pulldown/swivel wall mounts that will lower the TV down and in front of the fireplace for viewing and you just push it back up when done.

Not cheap, but a lot cheaper than the full-blown motorized lifts/mounts.

Note: posting this for anyone reading in the future.

Ideally, when I work with clients, I try to be consulted before construction of a custom/built-in cabinet is done and have it designed to fit a proper AV equipment rack behind the doors and install at least one ventilation fan.

In addition to standard racks designed to fit into cabinets (they have sliders and swivel mechanisms), it is always possible to just buy bulk rack rail and build any size/shape into a cabinet fairly easily during initial construction.